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Australian leaders: Fearful and disconnected

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HC Online | 12 Nov 2013, 12:04 AM Agree 0
Leaders across Australia and NZ are fearful of admitting mistakes and disconnected from their employees’ perceptions, new research has found.
  • Nigel | 12 Nov 2013, 01:02 PM Agree 0
    Very interesting article, we've found a similar issue with new hires fear of looking incompetent being an important driver in the hire number of people not finishing their probation periods
  • Cameron | 12 Nov 2013, 02:13 PM Agree 0
    Good point, Nigel. I can certainly imagine that the daunting nature of starting a position can result in people feeling concerned about admitting to faults.

    What is interesting about the topic is that the results also show that people are fine/would prefer others to admit their mistakes so everyone can learn from them. It is interesting to see how our own hang-ups and insecurities can affect our rationality.
  • Guy | 12 Nov 2013, 03:27 PM Agree 0
    Often the problem is that managers are ill-prepared for their management role. They have had little or no training on managing people, they therefore tend to focus on the administrivia and forget the importance of their team as a group of thinking, feeling human beings.
    Lencioni talks about the five dysfunctions of the team - the first being an absence of trust. It's hard to get this ball rolling but I try to encourage managers to take the first step. If a manager exhibits a vulnerability, and asks his or her team for help, this goes a long way to building trust in the team. It sends a message and sets the example.
    The results in this article are not surprising, disappointing but not surprising. It confirms that many organisations are struggling with these same issues.
  • Nigel | 13 Nov 2013, 11:04 AM Agree 0
    Absolutely, I think the problem is that many of the attributes desired in employees — intelligence, experience, independence and so
    on put newcomers under pressure to prove themselves quickly, and they fear that asking questions might reveal their ignorance.

    One area we have been thinking about is the use of an external 'coach' who is able to bridge this expectation gap particularly when combined with a structured on boarding process.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    In terms of trust this fits in well with David Maister's trust equation :

    Credibility - Act in accordance with their own statements – act as they expect their employees to act.
    Reliability - Follow through on commitments.
    Intimacy - Listen to employees and understand their concerns.
    Low Self-Orientation - Encourage employees to offer ideas and suggestions.


  • Guy | 13 Nov 2013, 11:17 AM Agree 0
    Great idea Nigel. We use external coaches with our new senior executives. We have also created a dedicated role of 'internal coach' to work directly with managers and supervisors. The focus of this person's role is to build people management capability with our supervisors. So far it's working well and the supervisors certainly appreciate it - this coach is a safe place for them to come when they don't know what to do. Each session with a supervisor becomes a discussion around trust, credibility, healthy and unhealthy conflict, commitment to team objectives, having difficult conversations etc
  • Nigel | 13 Nov 2013, 11:52 AM Agree 0
    Interesting - would love to discuss more offline if you have 5 minutes free - drop me an email nigel@rusdens.com
  • Gary Scholz | 14 Dec 2013, 03:49 PM Agree 0
    Cameron, you have actually shared one of the drivers of abrasive bosses, (aka, workplace bullies). The deep fear of being perceived as incompetent drives the aggression that we see in this population. As discussed by Nigel and Guy, Onboarding coaching is certainly an excellent ROI for organisations and can help bosses calmly work through, rather than using the fight response that we so often see used by bosses as a way to defend against threats of being perceived as incompetent.
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